Strong and sturdy

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Volkswagen Tiguan is expensive, but the well put together, comfortable SUV is attractive in an understated way

Volkswagen has launched the Tiguan SUV in India. It is priced in the range of Rs 27.98 lakh and Rs 31.38 lakh ex-showroom, Delhi, which takes it uncomfortably close to the seven-seater Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour. However, unlike the Fortuner and the Endeavour, the Tiguan is a monocoque construction based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB chassis.

Understated styling
Measuring 4486mm in length, 1839mm in width, and 1672mm in height, the Tiguan, in terms of dimensions, is comparable to the Hyundai Tuscon. Compared to the Tuscon, the Tiguan is priced higher. Flaunting an understated styling that is made up of straight and thick lines, including a deep shoulder crease, the SUV looks more like a crossover than a full-grown SUV. With a 2677mm wheelbase, the Tiguan has a ground clearance of 149mm. The big Volkswagen logo on the grille draws attention. It’s the same with the large LED head lights; they stand out.

The 18-inch alloys (on the highline trim) look good. Minus the flamboyance of the Endeavour and the Fortuner, the styling of the Tiguan looks attractive in an understated, solid way.

Well-equipped top specs
Interior is in all-black. In contrast, the roof lining is grey. The fit and finish is of high standards, and the plastics are soft-touch and look rich. If the switches have a nice tactile feel, the panel fitment is of high order. The switches look like they have been borrowed from other models.

Top-spec Tiguans are well equipped, and feature auto LED headlamps, automatic wipers, cruise control, electric driver’s seat with memory, electronic parking brake with hill hold, front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, three-zone automatic climate control, paddle shifters, push-button start, heated front seats, tyre pressure monitoring, auto opening tailgate, two sets of driving modes for on and off-road, and a big panoramic sunroof.

The SUV also features a big touch screen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Highlighting safety are six airbags, ABS, ESC and pedestrian protection. The tyres are claimed to be self sealing.

Comfortable seating
The dash looks understated in its styling. If the LED ambient lighting elevates ambience at night, the Tiguan provides comfortable seating. The leather seats may not look large but provide good support and a comfortable seating position. The passenger seat is height adjustable.

There’s good leg room and headroom on offer at the rear. The (60:40 split) seat feels a little short of under-thigh support. It slides back and forth, and the back rest is adjustable for recline. This arrangement facilitates an increase in storage space. With the rear seat in place, the boot space is a good 615 litres, so it makes sense to slide the rear seat back, and recline it well to seek a comfortable seating position.  

Accelerates well
The 145PS, 2-litre diesel engine is mated to a seven-speed DSG automatic and 4Motion all-wheel drive mechanism. Performance is good, and the SUV, with the Haldex AWD system that distributes torque between the front and the rear axles, accelerates well.

The engine is quite contained, even though it is heard at 2000rpm. Such is the refinement level that wind noise is audible at speeds in the region of 100kmph. A strong surge of power exerts itself at around 2000rpm.

The thrust is quite linear and evident up to 3000rpm. A firm push of the accelerator ensures good acceleration through the cogs, all the way to the top. Some trepidation however, and the auto-box will tend to hesitate. What’s impressive is how freely the engine revs all the way up to the 5000rpm redline.

The steering is sharp and quick, and complements handling. Body roll is evident, but well contained. The Tiguan excels in ride quality. There is a firm edge to the ride that provides an amount of confidence to push through corners. The fairly high-profile tyres of the SUV help with the ride. An ability to cruise at good speeds comes naturally to the Tiguan.
With features to match or supersede premium SUVs, the Tiguan comes across as solidly built. It is well put together, comfortable and capable of seating five people. However, the SUV, which employs German engineering, comes across as expensive.

Pros: Solidly built, understated outside and premium inside, well equipped top-spec
Cons: Expensive

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